While Apple has received a not-unreasonable amount of buzz for its MacBook Air, even folks like the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, who is typically quite the Apple fanman, were forced to acknowledge that while sexy, it wasn't necessarily practical for business use.Well, Lenovo's new ThinkPad X300, which hit retail today, tries to bridge the gap between form and function, and while there's no question that the MacBook Air will turn a lot more heads, Lenovo should have a winner on its hands - provided folks don't mind spending north of $2500 for a notebook.
First off, the Lenovo addresses the two biggest omissions of the MBA - it has an Ethernet port, and a DVD drive. And for all we talk about people moving to streaming video, the fact is, I can't remember the last time I took a cross-country flight without someone watching a DVD near me. The biggest ding (other than the price) is the fact that the only storage option - at least for now - is a 64GB solid state drive (which of course is a big reason the X300 is as expensive as it is). While 64GB of storage will be plenty for many business folks on the go, it's clearly going to be too small for some of you - though you could always supplement it with portable storage - or your iPod -- if push came to shove.
And, yes, the X300 also fits in an interoffice envelope, even though at .73 to .92 inches thick, it's clearly larger than the MBA (which comes in at .16 to .76 inches thick). Both systems are right around three pounds, and both have 13.3-inch displays. [The folks at Engadget have a nifty head-to-head chart.]
Speaking of new notebooks, I also want to take a moment to introduce the latest member of ZDNet's product blogs team, John Morris. John, a former executive editor of our sister site, CNET.com, is now a technology analyst for a private investment firm. In addition to his PC-focused blog, John's also covering the stuff inside the box in another blog for ZDNet, The Core Truth. You can read John's take on the buzz leading up to the X300 launch here.